Smart Movie Review: A “Fresh” take on modern dating with a horrific twist

Published 8:00 am Friday, April 1, 2022

By Ian Omar Smart | Guest Columnist

Currently streaming on Hulu, “Fresh” explores the perils of modern dating with a horrific twist.

Centered around two great performances, “Fresh” manages to tackle difficult subject matter while being a lot of fun. “Fresh” begins with our protagonist Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones) going on a terrible date.

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The viewer isn’t prepped for her encounter, assuming the audience can relate to such a baffling interaction. Afterward, she swears off dating right before running into “Steve” (Sebastian Stan) who seems too good to be true — handsome, passionate, funny.

Their first few encounters go so well that Noa agrees to spend a weekend with him. She soon realizes that she shouldn’t have judged this book by its cover. That setup barely scratches the surface of how “Fresh” engages with its premise.

While not subtle, this film’s bubbly style compensates for some overbearing symbolism. Colors read almost neon, slow-motion heightens stressful scenarios and the surreal aesthetic allows everything to behave believably off-kilter. Even the violence takes on a cartoonish nature.

Director Mimi Cave pushes some of the most grotesque elements without ever being gross-out or disturbing.  The viewer is meant to wince at how casually “Steve” commits violence and enacts cruelty towards Noa. The gore is upsetting, but the true horror is the way he breaks her mentally.

Fresh draws obvious influence from films like “Get Out” and “Scream;” but pushes its aesthetics and to a point of entertaining absurdity. Check it out.